High Park’s annual Cherry Blossom Festival will reportedly be vehicle-free this year. According to an email sent by Ward 4 Councillor Gordon Perks, vehicle access will be prohibited in Toronto's High Park on "peak cherry blossom bloom days". The initiative is a joint effort between the City of Toronto and Toronto Police Services to ensure public safety during the popular event. The email was shared by a Toronto Redditor and Narcity has reached Ward 4 for comment.
Traffic and congestion issues have reportedly become a problem for the festival, which attracts thousands of viewers every year. The councillor has attempted to remedy the problem by working alongside the TTC, city officials and Toronto Police to reportedly come up with a new “operational plan” for the festival this year.
“Every year tens of thousands of people visit High Park to take part in what has become a rite of Spring in Toronto: viewing the blossoming (cherry blossom) trees. This year, the City at the request of Toronto Police Services will prohibit vehicle access and parking, during the peak cherry blossom days. This is to ensure public safety in High Park during the festival,” read the email allegedly sent out by Perks on Thursday afternoon.
Despite the effort, many Torontonians are doubtful that the new ban will be enough to solve the growing congestion problem.
“Banning access to High Park is not going to stop people from driving. There will be just more people circling around the neighborhood trying to find parking because there is less parking available,” wrote one doubtful Redditor.
While others tried to remain positive about the situation by suggesting the ban was still better than nothing, “It will discourage a ton of people for sure. It’s smart to ban them,” replied another Redditor.
The blooming of the cherry blossom trees is a truly magical sight to see, and you really can’t blame people for wanting in on it. However, only time will tell if the reported vehicle ban will help the festival become less hectic.